Figuring out the millennials
For a long time millennials were the group of trophy kids and digital teens who were hard to understand and easy to dismiss. Now, however, they are carrying some real weight in the consumer market–they are 80 million strong in the US– and while a small cohort of them are still teens, a lot of the senior millennials are aging into new stages of life: parenthood, careers, homeownership. This has many brands scrambling to figure millennials out.
What drives this generation? What message is the most compelling to them? What will influence their decisions to purchase products?
The answer to these questions can be complicated, especially because, as aforementioned, millennials on opposite ends of the spectrum (junior millennials who are still teens vs. senior millennials in their early thirties) respond to messages differently.
Participation is key
There are some marketing methods and concepts that cross the bridge between the generation and appeal to all millennials, though. For instance, most millennials prefer user-generated content.
Millennial moms might want a chance to share their thoughts on a brand new baby product by posting a picture of it on Instagram, while millennial teens might be looking for a YouTube vlogger’s recommendation for a new game or item of clothing. The opportunity to participate and hear from others is key in engaging millennials across the spectrum.
They want to experience the product
Along with participation, millennials are looking for experience and information: successful marketing campaigns have provided how-tos, or have provided a chance for millennials to experience a brand. Target’s recent ads for makeup not only feature a product, but also showcase a “beauty concierge” giving a tutorial on how to properly use the product.
The ads, mimicking popular beauty vloggers’ videos, are an example of an effective way to market to millennials because they are not only informative and helpful, but they also seem to be more authentic than a usual advertising narrative.
Engage in authentic conversation
And more than anything, authenticity is important to millennials. Both junior and senior millennials have a tendency to be skeptical; they want to feel like a brand reflects their values, and they want to feel talked to, not talked at.
This is, after all, considered to be the most relational generation (and they don’t really care if you don’t think that social media counts as real relationships!)–they prefer to be “friends” (or followers) of those they interact with–brands included.